Hi friends, Happy Friday! Am glad to be back 🙂 Are you?
Today, I am writing about something that I personally do not do much, except for on my cardio days…on treadmill and then also, I mix my walking with sprints to increase the heart rate to its maximum!
Yes, you guessed it right, its walking!
After slumming it out in gym everyday and between all the chores at homes, I prefer not to walk later in the day however, I still go for a stroll many evenings, solely for some family time.
While I stroll, I see many people walking. I have also realized that if you ask someone what they do to stay fit, a lot of would reply that they walk, for exercise. The reasons are varied and the styles different and the timings as per their convenience.
That brings the question to fore – “Is walking an activity or is it an exercise?”. While some experts say that it is a form of exercise, some would say, it’s not!
One thing, I think it definitely is – convenient and flexible! And that’s why lot of people, especially women, choose to walk. Buying a gym membership and hiring a trainer is expensive…finding time and getting ready for gym is a chore if you are not motivated or are intimated by the gym environment!
Walking is easy, you can do any time, you can even make walking-buddies, have fun and chats while walking!
What exactly is an exercise:
Before we dissect walking, let’s just quickly know what exercise is defined as.
The definition of exercise is any physical activity that is planned, structured, and repetitive for the purpose of conditioning any part of the body. Exercise is used to improve health, maintain fitness and is important as a means of physical rehabilitation.
That’s why leisurely strolls and household chores don’t count as exercise, unfortunately ☹. Even if you are at it the whole day!
Is walking for exercise enough?
It depends on what you want to achieve.
To get something out of your walking, you will need to put an effort there too! If you are walking, walk at a brisk pace, for not less than 45 minutes, and take care of your diet still.
What exactly is “BRISK”?
Brisk walking refers to your exertion rather than your speed. Exertion is measured by your heart rate and breathing rate. For your walking pace to be brisk, you need to be breathing harder than usual. While you should be able to speak in full sentences, you shouldn’t be able to sing.
A brisk walking pace is 3.0 miles per hour or about 20 minutes per mile, which is about 5 kilometers per hour or 12 minutes per kilometer.
This pace also depends upon your fitness levels.
There are many tools that you can use to find your heart rate during exercise. If you can, take your pulse by hand. You can use an app , pulse monitor, a fitness band, smartwatch or any sort of heart monitor that you have.
Fitness bands and heart rate monitors will often show your target heart zone automatically and enable to you maintain a level of exertion that will keep you in that zone.
And walking has a few benefits, like:
- It can be done by people of all age groups, of all fitness levels and with almost all medical concerns
- It is free and flexible
- You can use the walking-time as ‘me-time’ or as a ‘social time’ while you are at it
- For beginning exercisers, more intense forms of cardio may be difficult or unsafe. Walking is a low-impact, easy way to gradually improve your fitness level so that you can eventually do more intense exercise
- Walking helps build muscular strength and endurance in your legs and torso, contributing to the toning and tightening of your lower body and midsection. Several muscles are involved in every step
- Brisk walking for 45 minutes mobilizes the body to dip into fat reserves and burn stored fat called visceral fat
- For people with injuries or health issues, walking may be the most extreme exercise that their health will allow, but still provide a way to stay at their best possible fitness level
As long as you take care of a few things. Know that:
- To make walking a quality form of cardiovascular exercise, you need to increase your heart rate. For this, you need to brisk-walk! If you don’t walk brisk or long distances, it won’t burn significant calories
- Be consistent, do it regularly
- Do it for a minimum of 30 minutes, 45 minutes on an average, depending upon your capacity and fitness level…at least 5-6 days a week
- No amount of walking will help you get in shape unless you change your diet from junk to healthy food
- If you are able to sing along to your music, you are not working hard enough
- If you can talk comfortably, you are not working too hard
- If you struggle to breathe and need to stop to catch your breath, you are working way too hard
Can I lose weight while I walk?
At a brisk walking pace, you would burn 100 to 300 calories in 30 minutes (depending on your weight). You need to watch your diet if you want to lose weight with walking alone.
Why Diet though?
To create a calorie deficit. Nothing in the world, would work if you don’t take your diet seriously!!
Good walking posture: Very important
- Stand up straight and don’t arch your back
- Chin parallel to ground and look ahead
- Relax your jaws and shoulders and suck your stomach in
- Move your arms in opposition to your feet. When your right foot goes forward, your right arm goes back and your left arm goes forward
- Your arm motion should be mostly forward-and-back, not diagonal and close to your body
- Strike your step with heel and roll from heel to toe
- Don’t worry too much about your speed, as it is your heart rate that determines whether your pace is brisk enough to boost you into the moderate-intensity exercise zone
Last but not the least
Walking repeatedly uses the same muscles and joints and because of this, too much walking done incorrectly can also strain and damage the joints and knees. To avoid injury and get the most benefit from walking, warm up and cool down with leg stretches
To prevent foot injury, wear athletic shoes designed for walking with well-cushioned soles and good arch support
Some soreness is normal after exercise, but don’t continue a walking program that causes pain. Adjust your exercise and see your doctor if pain continues.
And stay hydrated! 🙂
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Till next Friday, XOXO